Background: Integrated healthcare delivery systems present unique opportunities for cancer survivorship research. The National Cancer Institute funds the Cancer Research Network (CRN) to leverage these capabilities for all types of cancer research, including survivorship.
Methods: The authors gathered information from a recent CRN funding application, Survivorship Interest Group materials, the CRN website, and published articles. CRN studies were selected to illustrate diverse topics and a variety of data-collection approaches.
Results: The 14 systems that participate in the CRN provide care for approximately 10.8 million individuals of all ages and racial/ethnic backgrounds, for whom approximately 38,000 new cancer diagnoses were made in 2005. CRN systems have the ability to use existing data and collect new data on patients, providers, and organizations through well established research centers staffed by independent scientists. Of the 45 funded and 2 pending CRN grant applications as of November 30, 2007, 21 include aspects related to cancer survivorship. These studies have examined clinical trial participation, patterns of care, age and racial/ethnic disparities, diffusion of clinical trial findings, treatment outcomes, surveillance, and end-of-life and palliative care. Breast, colorectal, lung, ovarian, and prostate cancers have been the focus of these studies. Results of these studies have been published widely in leading journals.
Conclusions: Completed and ongoing CRN survivorship studies provide a strong foundation for future studies. Scientists from all institutional affiliations are welcome to approach the CRN with ideas and are encouraged to allow ample time to establish collaborative relationships and design rigorous studies.